In 2018 Sheffield-based silversmith Charlotte Tollyfield was chosen by Sheffield Hallam University to produce the 12th new design for the winners’ centre.
If you have ever found yourself in the winner’s enclosure at the annual Doncaster St Leger Stakes the moment the horses cross the finish line you will notice a terrific wave of noise. The crowd, in their best suits and biggest hats, scream and roar as these magnificent animals thunder into the final furlong. They are gigantic, powerful beasts. The winner, slick with sweat, is led into the enclosure and showered with a bucket of cooling water before being walked in a victory lap, towering over his triumphant jockey and jubilant owner. It is a sight to behold, whether your luck is in or not.
You will also notice the St Leger Stakes Trophy, a breath-taking silver rose water dish, weighing in at approximately 10kg, designed in 2007 by silversmiths Chris Knight, Sarah Denny and Owen Waterhouse of Sheffield Hallam University. The trophy comprises two sections; the dish itself, known as the permanent St Leger Stakes Trophy, and a central, removable rose bowl, which is given as a prize to the winner of the race. Each year a different silversmith is commissioned to design and make a new centre and the trophy is reinvigorated.
“It occurred to me that there are many comparisons between a racing horse and an aeroplane
In 2018, Sheffield-based silversmith Charlotte Tollyfield was chosen by Sheffield Hallam University to produce the 12th new design for the winners’ centre.
Taking her inspiration from Doncaster Racecourse’s history of hosting air shows as well as horse racing, Charlotte’s placed aerodynamics at the heart of her design, which incorporates flowing lines and propeller blades.
“It occurred to me that there are many comparisons between a racing horse and an aeroplane in flight; the fluidity of movement and the thrill of speed, all combined to give each an allure of power, control and finesse. This is what I have tried to capture.” The various components of the trophy centre required an impressive range of metalworking techniques, including spinning, press-forming, scoring, milling and turning.
“It felt very much like the whole thing was being engineered, just like a plane. It suited my design-led, modernist aesthetic.”
That year’s winner, 3-year old Irish thoroughbred and bookies’ second choice ‘Kew Gardens’, won by two and a quarter lengths from the previous year’s winner. Watching from the winner’s enclosure, Charlotte could experience the extraordinary roar and thunder for herself.
“Knowing that the trophy was the centre point of the whole St. Leger Festival, and the prize that everyone was racing for, was a great honour indeed.”